Most Indian cities now open defecation free: Hardeep Puri

Minister of state for housing, urban affairs and civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri.
Minister of state for housing, urban affairs and civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri.

Minister of state for housing and urban affairs Hardeep S Puri on Thursday said all urban areas in the country except a few in West Bengal have become open defecation free. Around the country, 4,166 cities have been certified by third party bodies while 4,320 have declared themselves ODF, he told the first meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry.

About 61 lakh individual toilets and 5.6 lakh community toilets have been built across the country, exceeding the targets set by the government. The government plans to provide houses to all eligible families under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban by 2022. The mission covers 4421 urban areas in the country. The ministry has provided assistance of Rs 1.51 lakh crore for the construction of 96.5 lakh houses. More than 29 lakh houses have already been built under the scheme.

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Door to door waste collection has been in place in 96% of the wards in the country’s urban areas and 60% of the waste generated is scientifically processed, Puri informed the committee.
He briefed the committee on the implementation of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana, National Urban Livelihoods Mission, Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana, and metro rail projects.

Investments to the tune of Rs 2.05 lakh crore have been planned by the 100 smart cities with the support of Rs 48,000 crore central assistance. Rs 1.06 lakh crore worth projects are under different stages of completion. Members of Parliament MVV Satyanaraya, Ramcharan Bohra, Abir Ranjan Biswas, Rajmani Patel, KTS Tulsi and Shri Sanjay Singh attended the meeting, which was also joined by housing & urban affairs secretary Durga Shanker Mishra and other senior officers of the ministry.

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He informed the MPs that the government that Rs 39,000 crore has been allocated to water supply out of the budgeted 77,640 crore. The mission has replaced 67 lakh streetlights with LED lights against targeted 99 lakh. Online building permission system is in place in 1,887 urban areas, which helped India’s ranking in the World Bank Doing Business Report.

Deendayal Antodaya Yojana has brought 42.95 lakh poor households in urban areas under self-help groups. Of the more than 10 lakh individuals trained in skills fit for livelihood in urban areas, 5.58 lakh got employment. Under the scheme, Rs 2,753 crore central assistance has been released to states and Union territories under the scheme since 2014.